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    Chicken Baked in a Salt Crust

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    Chicken Baked in a Salt Crust

    Baking chicken in a salt crust is an age-old and popular Mediterranean cooking method. The salt locks in all the flavours and juices without leaving the finished dish tasting over salted. Once cooked, the salt crust is cracked open (do this at the table for dramatic effect!) and discarded, leaving you with beautifully moist chicken.

    • Preparation time: 10 minutes
    • Cooking time: 2 hours, plus 15 minutes resting
    • Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 8


    • 2 x 1.5kg Waitrose Le Poulet D'or Traditional Corn Fed Free Range British Chicken
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • 1 pack fresh bay leaves
    • 4 x 500g packs Waitrose Coarse Crystal Sea Salt or Tidman's Natural Rock Salt
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 pack fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Rinse the chickens, then pat dry on kitchen paper but don't remove the trussing string. Place half a lemon and a few bay leaves in each cavity. Line a large roasting tin with extra wide foil, leaving plenty of excess foil around the sides.
    2. Sprinkle the foil with a thin layer of the salt and then place the chickens on top. Crumple the foil around the chickens so they fit snugly. Pour the remaining salt over and around the chickens until just covered. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cold water. Cover and seal in the chickens with another large piece of foil.
    3. Bake the chickens for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and peel away the foil. Crack open the salt crust, lift away and discard the pieces. Check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the meat is pierced with a sharp knife. Then leave to rest for 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before carving.
    4. Carve the chickens. Then transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter, brush with the oil, sprinkle with parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the sauces and accompaniments.

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    Cook's tips

    Carving instructions:
    Crack open and discard the salt crust to reveal the chickens. To carve, first cut off the legs with a sharp knife, then cut each leg in half at the joint to divide the thigh and drumstick. Carve down the breast in thick slices. Repeat with the second chicken.

    Remember that if you choose a recipe that is high in salt you will need to balance your intake for the day. Do this by reducing the amount of salt you eat in other meals.


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